6 Easy Steps on How to Remove Wallpaper

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It’s an ugly job, but we can make it easier with these helpful steps on how to remove wallpaper.

Removing old wallpaper is actually not as difficult as you might think. Yes, I have to admit that it’s a tough and ugly job, but with the right knowledge and tools, the task will be easier. So, let’s start with the list of tools required on how to remove wallpaper by HGTV.

  • 5″ rigid putty knife
  • garbage can with can liner
  • hot water from tap or electric kettle
  • painter’s plastic tarp
  • painter’s tape
  • pressure sprayer
  • safety glasses
  • screwdriver

Step 1: Protect the Floor, Woodwork, and Electrical Outlets

Of course, you’re not going to tear down your wallpaper right away. First, you need to protect your floors since you will be spraying water onto the walls to easily remove the wallpaper. HGTV advised to lay down a plastic painter’s tarp on the floor and secure it by using painter’s tape. Also, don’t forget to cover the electrical outlets with the painter’s tape, as well. You can remove the plastic painter’s tarp and tape once you completely remove the wallpaper.


Step 2: Pry Up Wallpaper

The next step on how to remove wallpaper is to check the type of wallpaper. Popular Mechanics said that there are three main types of wallpaper. First is the “strippable” type, which is the easiest type of wallpaper to remove. Next is the traditional type that is untreated and uncoated. This can be removed by spraying the wallpaper with water or solution, then scraping it off. Lastly is the vinyl or laminated coated wallpaper. This type is the most difficult wallpaper to remove.

Also, you need to know the type of wall before you remove the wallpaper because some walls can be a little tricky. To do this, Popular Mechanics suggested to remove a wall plate around a light switch and look at the exposed section of the wall. For example, drywall will be thinner and more uniform than plaster. Also, it can be a bit trickier to remove the wallpaper without damaging the wall, unlike plaster-built walls.

To begin removing your wallpaper, use a scraper, then find an edge to your wallpaper and pry it up using the scraper.

Step 3: Soak Backing to Soften the Paste

The next step on how to remove wallpaper is to soak wallpaper backing to soften the paste and to easily scrape off the wallpaper. To do this, wear gloves and apply the hottest water you can tolerate. Remember to be careful! However, do not apply all at once.

Apply the water using a sponge in small sections so the backing doesn’t dry out before you can even scrape it. Also, let the backing absorb the water for at least 15 minutes. Keep applying water to soften the paste, then scrape it off.

Step 4: Scrape Off the Backing

There’s the right way on how to remove wallpaper. You don’t just scrape it off because this will damage your walls. It’s best to use a flexible metal spatula or putty knife with rounded corners to scrape the backing, as suggested by Family Handyman. This is helpful for homeowners with drywall because it won’t cause damage to the drywall.

If you don’t have a rounded putty knife, file the corners like as shown in the image. Avoid using plastic spatulas or scrapers because it won’t work. Plus, they’re too thick to get underneath the backing.

Step 5: Use Gel Stripper

The most important step on how to remove wallpaper is to use gel stripper on clingy and stubborn paste. Expect that there’s going to be a LOT of paste on the wall once you remove the wallpaper. Scrape off what you can with a metal spatula or putty knife, then clean the walls properly with a sponge and water.

After cleaning the walls, use a gel stripper to remove the last bits of stubborn paste. Leave it for at least 20 minutes, then scrape off the gel and the paste at the same time. You will be surprised that it’s a lot easier to remove the paste and backing because of the gel stripper. Rinse the walls with water until it’s squeaky clean.

Step 6: Repair, Sand, and Prime the Walls

Yes, we’re finally down on our last step on how to remove wallpaper. Now that your walls are clean, it’s to repair, sand, and prime them. This step will prepare the walls for new wallpaper or paint.

Of course, removing wallpapers will somehow leave damages or holes on your walls. Patch these damages and holes with joint compound. Wait for it to dry, then sand the wall until it’s smooth. Lastly, prime the walls. Keep in mind to use an acrylic primer if you’re going to install new wallpaper. Ask your local hardware store for the right primer if you’re going to paint on the walls.

That’s a wrap on how to remove wallpaper. Learn more interior design tips and ideas on Omysa’s blog. Happy decorating!

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